There’s no denying that dear old Archbishop Rowan can still move quickly when he wants to. Granted, when it comes to trivia like acting to save the lives of GLBT Ugandans he moves at a pace flatteringly described as glacial, but just let those pesky apostate ‘piskies follow the Spirit’s guidance and appoint as Bishop someone in a loving and committed relationship and it’s clear just how fast those eyebrow caterpillars can really twitch.
Naturally everyone expected the usual balanced voices - such as little David Virtue or the Archbishop of Mordor - to start gibbering in the wings, but after ++Cantaur said “ There are ways of speaking about the question that seem to ignore these human realities or to undervalue them; I have been criticised for doing just this, and I am profoundly sorry for the carelessness that could give such an impression” many were beginning to fear the man with the bushiest beard in the Communion had developed something akin to a gracious Christian maturity in his understanding of human sexuality. But – thank goodness – these fears were unfounded, and His Grace has proven he’s every bit as out of touch as we’ve always suspected.
Mind you, as is the case with any primal proclamation (or should that be “primitive pronouncement”?), the real message lays in what wasn’t said. Thus in describing Canon Glasspool’s appointment as “regrettable”, what His Grace really meant is “it’s bad enough the Holy Spirit foolishly chose to raise up someone without a dick, but that this someone isn’t even particularly interested in dicks seriously challenges our understanding of God’s omniscience.”
Dearly Beloved Sinners, there’s no denying that electing anyone not an immediate member of the Jensen family was always going to upset Dobby’s masters; and the big strong men of Forward in Faith were never going to feel comfortable about woman of any persuasion - nor anyone not driven by guilt, fear, and shame into keeping there sexuality a well-closeted open secret. Yet ++Cantaur’s concerns run much deeper than these noisy starlings of the Anglican intertubes: after all it’s him who has to sweep up the broken china after some Nigerian/Ugandan/Rwandan/Kenyan/Texan big-man-turned-bishop has thrown a tantrum over afternoon tea at Lambeth Palace. It’s him who’s worked all these years to get Her Majesty’s private phone number (no mean accomplishment for a man who looks like Catweazle), and it’s him who has to call that number in the middle of the night to reassure the lady on the other end who’s worried that she’ll be forced by international Anglican pressure to enthrone as his successor someone who thinks gin and horse-racing are the devil’s tools of colonial repression.
Forget about niceties like displaying courage in standing up for the rights of minorities who’ve been persecuted and excluded for millennia; or for welcoming God’s latest crazy development in the ongoing struggle to incorporate everyone into the ludicrous venture that is salvation, ++Rowan is quite correctly more concerned with keeping things quiet and shipshape in the clubhouse. After all, it’s all very well for Jesus to call whoever He wants to serve Him, but it’s not as if Our Lord is the one who’s held answerable when the members of His body don’t like the person they have to sit next to at supper time.
There is, however, one bright side to all this: in the wake of ++Canterbury’s warning that “Further consultation will now take place about the implications and consequences of this decision” my airline stocks have already begun rising spectacularly. Regardless of how things end, smart investors know it’s going to involve a whole lot of parishioners’ money being spent on business-class seats with Continental, BA, and that other company flying out of Abuja which dresses their flight attendants in delightfully short skirts. Let’s just hope TEC don’t spoil everything by backing down, and I’ll be worth billions before my fellow conservatives have realized all the meetings in the world can’t ever stop the tide from coming in.
I'm Father Christian and I teach the Bible.